“While they were eating, Jesus took bread,
gave thanks and broke it
and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took the cup,
gave thanks and offered it to them,
and they all drank from it.
This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many,”
Mark 14:22-24 NIV
It is Passover, three days before the resurrection. Jesus shares a last meal with the men he loved. I am a visual person so symbolism is meaningful to me. Both bread and wine were simple everyday objects Jesus used to teach a new truth. History was about to turn the page. There would be no more poor little sacrificial lambs to be sacrificed at Passover. Jesus, the Lamb of God was about to become the once and for all perfect sacrifice for sin.
Those who shared this meal had no idea what was about to take place. As they listen to the words of Jesus, they simply didn’t understand that when Jesus broke the bread it was really symbolic of an actual event that within just a few short hours would take place. His body would be broken and crushed almost beyond recognition. When they drank the wine they were clueless that this symbolized the crucifixion that would soon take place. They really didn’t know that within a few more hours every drop of his precious blood would be drained from his abused body.
Many of the disciples watched this hideous event unfold from afar, but John watched from the foot of the cross. As the women and Joseph of Arimathea prepared to lay the body of Jesus in the tomb I imagine the disciples might have started to put it all together. Bread – broken body, wine – poured out blood. But still, what did it all mean. Death was real. Hope was gone. Perhaps they remembered Jesus giving thanks for the bread and wine. Why would he do that? What about this event would give reason to be thankful? Poured out for many, what did that mean? How could this be happening? There was no rhyme or reason to this scenario. So they left
grieving and hopelessly distraught. They had so many questions and each
question yielding no answer.
Then three days later Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and then in utter panic reported to the disciples that the broken bread and the poured out wine was missing from the grave! Again the eleven were faced with the hard fact that the impossible had happened. They had been witnesses to the crushed and bloody flesh! The crushed bread and poured out wine! No way could this report be true. In a foot race John outran Peter to the tomb. Without a doubt, the tomb was empty. John, “He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” John 20:5-7 NIV
Why would someone steal the body and leave the burial linens behind. Who would bother in their haste to fold the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ face? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if just one thing over the past few days made sense? The tomb was empty but why?
But isn’t it just like Jesus to meet us at our point of need, calm our fears, help us get passed our unbelief, and give us his peace? “On the evening of that first day of the week when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19 NIV
What a glorious Easter message. The tomb was empty and he had risen! He has risen indeed! Their lives were now full of hope! Jesus had defeated death.
As followers of Jesus Christ we too are privileged to experience this joy and rejoice in our eternal hope. Imagine how different your life would be without this hope. Our lives would be distraught and hopeless. The message of our forgiveness would be incomplete. Even though Jesus is no longer on this earth he is seated at the right hand of God the Father. It is a place of honor because he was obedient unto death, even the death on the cross. He paid the price for our redemption and is waiting to receive us in heaven. He has risen! The broken bread and poured out wine is risen indeed!
- Do you relate to the disbelief of the disciples before they saw Jesus face to face?
- Is there anything in your life that Jesus has promised you that you are having trouble believing?
- Are you full of joy and hope because Jesus has risen?
Please forgive my unbelief. I do believe that you are the risen LORD. However, I often doubt other things that you have told me in your Word. I confess that sometimes I loose hope in waiting for an answer to prayer. Sometimes I am fearful that you will not show up in my life or in the life of someone I love. How can I doubt you? If broken bread and poured out wine can recreate itself into a new resurrected body, how can I ever live in the realm of unbelief. I see Jesus, that with you I can believe that all things are possible! I want to thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and for the power of your resurrection. I now have hope because I know beyond all doubt that I too will be resurrected to live with you forever. Just like you Lord, I will also have a new body and a new eternal home. Because of your great power all things will pass away and all things will become new. You are my blessed hope. Hallelujah! You are the risen Lord and nothing is impossible!
In Your blessed name I pray. Amen.